29.7.11

Our Fairy Garden

Over at The Magic Onions there is a Fairy Garden Competition going on.  I am not the competitive type, but I was inspired.  I called little Mr. B. to come have a look and together we decided to step up to the plate and create a little fairy garden of our own!

Little Mr. chose a tiny dish for a fairy pool, some smooth grey stones for decoration, and green-glowing gems to serve as foot-path leading to the door of a (compostable) flower-pot house...

And he even added some bits of moss inside the flower-pot house to serve as a soft fairy-bed...

 
And helped with the watering...

 Does that doormat look familiar?

 The sign on the banner says, "Welcome Fairies..."

I hope they come & visit our garden soon...

27.7.11

Teddy Bear's Picnic

 If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise;
For ev'ry bear that ever there was will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.
-- Jimmy Kennedy

 After all the fun we've been having with the mouse puppet I made last week, I thought I'd tackle another puppet/book related project so, I created a friend to accompany our sing-alongs with the book Teddy Bear's Picnic. We've been enjoying this board book version illustrated by Michael Hague, however, I am looking forward to graduating to our larger paper version.  The illustrations by Mr. Hague are gloriously detailed and slightly spooky (some of the trees and toadstools have eerie faces) but there are also the funniest wee fairies hidden among the tree roots...

 I got started by tracing 'round the hand of my favorite 8 year old to create a pattern...

 Here we have front and back patterns (the front has no ears.)

I like my bears chocolate-y so I created our bear out of brown wool felt with a lighter cafe-au-lait  contrasting circle for the face, however, I could also imagine a rainbow of bears (lavender, blue, green, etc...) if you wanted to get creative!

First I sewed the face to the (earless) front of the puppet...

 Added eyes, nose and some buttons (a round, contrasting fabric tummy might also add a charming touch...)

 Then stitched the front of the puppet to the back...

 And viola!  We are ready to play!

23.7.11

Roses Love Sunshine, Violets Love Dew...



Down in the valley, the valley so low,
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow,
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.

Roses love sunshine, violets love dew,
Angels in heaven know I love you...
Know I love you dear, know I love you,
Angels in heaven know I love you.

Write me a letter containing three lines,
Answer my question: Will you be mine?
Will you be mine, dear, will you be mine?
Answer my question: Will you be mine?

I learned this quaint, old fashioned love song at school when I was ten years old. I've always remembered it and always liked it.  About a month ago I heard the song again on Elizabeth Mitchell's album, You Are My Little Bird and it's become a favorite bedtime lullaby for my wee Bloom.  If you like, you can hear a clip of it here (listed as track number 116.)

Perhaps tonight you'll rock someone to sleep to the tune of this song, too...

17.7.11

The Art of Giving

 I came across information about this e-course today.  

It was created by Regina Lord of Creative Kismet and looks so wonderful that I wanted to help spread the word!

 
This little animation created by Regina is a sheer delight!

15.7.11

Helpful

 Helpful?  Not really... But a constant source of amusement for this doting mama...

Here we have the little culprit trying to escape the scene of the crime...  Did he steal my socks?  No, but every day he steals my heart...

13.7.11

Goodnight little house, And goodnight mouse


 
When my Little Mr. was small, our readings of Goodnight Moon were accompanied by a little brown mouse finger-puppet.  This little mouse helped us find the tiny mouse hidden in the illustrations, cheered our success at finding the little mouse, gave kisses to the little mouse and also gave enthusiastic kisses to Little Mr.

The comments everyone left on my post from Monday about the books of Margaret Wise Brown were  delightful and so today I was inspired.  My inspiration was thus: I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice if we had a little grey mouse puppet to exactly match the mouse in the book and accompany our readings?"  And so, while my Wee Bloom had a little morning sleep, I hopped on over here to visit my friend Shannon at her blog Rhythm & Rhyme.  Shannon has a "Seriously Cute Mouse Tutorial" and, clever mama that she is, she has even provided a pattern you can print out for those "seriously cute" mice!

My Wee Bloom slept long enough for me to get everything cut out (note: I extended the length of the body of the mouse 3/4 of an inch and didn't bother cutting out a base since I planned to leave the bottom of the mouse open to serve at a puppet.) My wee fellow sat on the floor playing with a set of measuring cups... just long enough for me to get everything stitched up (but not long enough for me to add whiskers.) He stood at my knee, gazing imploringly...

 And so we took that little mousie for a test-drive!

Goodnight kittens
And goodnight mittens
Goodnight clocks
And goodnight socks
Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse

11.7.11

Little Fur Family


There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm
wooden tree.
(from Little Fur Family
by Margaret Wise Brown)

Most mornings when we get up, my husband greets us with a cheerful, "Good morning my Little Fur Family!" and at night we tuck into bed with a jolly, "Good night my Little Fur Family!"  Mr. Bloom is, of course, referencing the book Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown.

I am fond of the ever popular Good Night Moon...

And I adore the story of The Runaway Bunny ("If you go flying on a flying trapeze," said his mother, "I will be a tightrope walker, and I will walk across the air to you..."  So beautiful!)

 Each line of Big Red Barn is poetic and delightful in every way...

But Little Fur Family is a favorite in our house. I'm not sure what it is about it that makes us love it so. This peculiar little book follows the fur child on his day of adventure in "the wild wood."  The story ends with this funny lullaby:

Sleep, sleep our little fur child,
Out of the windiness,
Out of the wild.
sleep warm in your fur
All night long,
In your little fur family.
This is a song.

 Do you have a favorite book by Margaret Wise Brown? (Or any favorite board-book, for that matter...)

9.7.11

Our First Green Bean Harvest

 
Blue Lake greenbeans... our first harvest!

6.7.11

Is that Cup Half Empty or Half Full?

On Friday, May 27th, I called my mother just to say "hello."  Her birthday had been the day before and so we'd spoken then, but it's a usual habit for us to talk almost every day.  She sounded down and when I wanted to know why, she asked if I was in a quiet place where we could talk.  I was driving on an errand and had her on speaker-phone so I immediately pulled the car over.  She told me that she had cancer -- a very aggressive type.   I was (understandably) very upset.  To torture myself further I did research.  I found statistics.  I took notes. The cold, hard facts are as follows: even with aggressive treatment, this thing could go either way. 


There will always be things in our lives over which we have no control.  What we do have control over, however, is how we respond.  And so, the question is then, how does one respond to this type of revelation?



In this blog, I present to you my best self, but I have to admit, when the going gets tough, I am just as likely to channel Eeyore ("There are those who will wish you a good morning. If it is a good morning, which I doubt.") or Piglet ("Help, help," cried Piglet, "a Heffalump, a Horrible Heffalump!" and he scampered off as hard as he could, still crying out, "Help, help, a Herrible Hoffalump! Hoff, hoff, a Hellible Horralump! Holl, holl, a Hoffable Hellerump!")  

Responding in the fashion of Eeyore or Piglet is normal and human, but I've needed to go beyond those responses. So... I keep returning to the statistics.  When the odds are 50/50, it seems to me that one can look at the numbers and view them as a "cup half empty" or a "cup half full."

Through these past weeks my mother has been steadfastly maintaining a "cup half full" approach.  She came through surgery a few weeks ago with flying colors and she starts chemotherapy today.  She is strong, determined and has a lot of living to do.  So, I'm going to follow her example.  I've got a firm grip on my cup and am raising it to my perfect, beautiful mother in a toast to love, life, and good health.  And when I raise that cup, it's definitely half full.

5.7.11

Celebrating our Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yesterday while everyone here in the United States celebrated the birth of our nation, we also celebrated the birth of our wee Bloom.  That's right, he's a 4th of July baby...  Our very own little Yankee Doodle Dandy!

There were balloons...

And much "balloon-related" silliness.

 
There was cake...

There were candles...

And we glowed in the presence of 20 favorite friends who have blessed us with their love and support all through the long journey to grow our family.


Most of all, we were thrilled to have our other guest of honor at the party.  M. carried our wee Bloom for 9 months.  We would not have this child in our lives without her in our lives.  They have not seen each other since last September, so it was an exciting and joyful reunion, indeed!

Here they are 14 months ago... amazing...


We made a wish, little baby, and heaven sent us you!

4.7.11

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

In heaven shone a golden star.
An angel led you from afar.
From heaven high unto the earth,
And bought you to your place of birth.

Oh, welcome, welcome lovely day,
With sunshine bright and flowers gay.
With painted birds that sing their song,
And make you kind and good and strong.

 We waited many years for you.  From the moment we set eyes on you and you were laid in our arms, we knew we were complete...
Round, blue eyes, a baby full of curiosity, laughter and mischief, topped by a wee noggin of fine, wish-flower down.

 
You delight us.  You complete us...
 
 Happy Birthday dear little one!

2.7.11

Second Hand Saturday: The Little Brown Bear

We received many lovely baby gifts. My favorites are always the ones which have been handmade, however another of my favorites (and most unique) was this book.

The inside cover is inscribed by hand: A very Happy Birthday to Thomas from Your little friend Freddie Greene, Jr. 1927.

The book begins:

This is the story about the Little Brown Bear who lived in a hole in a hollow tree. All winter long the Little Brown Bear slept in his cozy house, curled up in bed of oak leaves. He slept all night and he slept all day, and he never woke up till winter was over. Then, when the snow was all gone, and the grass was green again, the Little Brown Bear opened his eyes and jumped out of bed and hurried out of his house to look for something for breakfast.

The story follows the Little Brown Bear as he meets 3 cows, 3 pigs, 3 hens, 3 ducks and 3 horses. Some of the animals are unfriendly to the little bear and others share with him so that he has a nourishing breakfast. However, when the little bear finds a bag of golden pennies lying in the road he uses the pennies to rescue all the animals, no matter whether they'd been kind or not, from being sold at market.

Surely Thomas (and his friend Freddie Greene, Jr.) are now grandfathers. I hope Thomas (the birthday boy) enjoyed this book as much as we have!

* Second Hand Saturday is inspired by Arianne of Still Parenting.